Can I wash bleach artwork, tie-dye or blanket garments in the washing machine?
Bleach artwork items can be washed in the washing machine - the artwork will not fade, blur or crack and is permanent no matter what temperature you wash at, but 40 degrees or less is recommended for best care of the fabric and the environment.
Tie-Dye, hand-dyed and blanket fabric garments are best washed by hand in cool water. We have tried washing our own in our washing machine, and while the garments survive well, the tie-dye colours may fade and blanket garments may become less soft, so the better you look after these the brighter/softer they will stay.
Always wash items with similar colours, bright coloured hand-dyed items especially may dull your whites if mixed in a wash.
If there's something we've not talked about here feel free to ask us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to answer as quickly as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions...
Can bleach art garments be machine washed?
Yes! Bleach artwork items can be machine washed as normal.
When I paint in bleach I am removing the colour from the garment meaning the results are permanent and washing can't add the colour back. The artwork will not fade, blur or crack no matter what temperature you wash at, but 40 degrees or less is recommended for best care of the fabric and the environment.
The garment will arrive to you freshly washed to remove the bleach used to create the design.
How is it done?
I paint using regular household bleach onto clothing with a paint brush after having marked my design out in chalk. The garment is then washed and any residual bleach is removed leaving a permanent hand created piece of wearable artwork.
How and why did you start painting in bleach?
When Ben and I started Bare Canvas we wanted to bring creativity and art into clothing. I wanted something better than fabric pens (I've tried them all!) or plastic feeling prints to add my own artwork onto clothing. I remembered that at college when I was 17 I had found a plastic clothing label and used it as a stencil on some fabric with bleach. This was then chucked into a sketchbook and forgotten about until I remebered that I had quite liked the effect. I dug it out and still have it!
It occured to me that I could put basic designs onto clothing this way and as soon as I started experimenting it became clear that I could do more than just stencil or make patterns. I had learnt how to shade and control it to make full pieces of artwork. It was permanent and washable too!
How do you paint different shades?
There are a lot of variables with bleach, it acts similarly to bleaching hair.
Using different strengths and dilutions will change the brightness of the marks I make, as will how long it is wet for.
I also use a layering technique to build the brightness slowly, as I've mentioned elsewhere bleach is super permanent so if I make a mistake I have to just work with it!
There's several other quirks and conditions that affect the brightness, for example the weather or conditions in a room I'm painting in.
The brightness also develops like a polaroid and takes anything from a few minutes to a few hours to take full effect. This means you can't see what you've done straight away - another fun quirk to work with!
It took a lot of time, patience, practice and experimentation to be able to control each aspect of painting in bleach and I've enjoyed every minute.
Can you paint on any fabric with bleach?
No. Definely not! Some fabric just don't like it. They can repell the bleach if they aren't absorbant, some dyes are fixed so that they can't be bleached and some fabrics react badly and are damaged by bleach.
I only use good quality fabrics and garments that I know work well with bleach. I provide the garments for custom orders because of this.
How long does each piece take to paint?
It depends on the complexity of the design but usually anything from a few hours to a few days in painting, and then another day to wash and line dry it.
Custom orders are usually completed and ready to post in around 2-3 weeks from the date of ordering but if you have a specific date you'd like me to aim for delivery (such as a birthday or event) then please do mention this and I'll check my schedule.
What tips do you have if I want to try this at home?
I DO NOT RECOMMEND TRYING THIS AT HOME!
This is firstly because of the obvious health and saftey issues. I don't want to encourage anyone into splashing bleach about their house dangerously.
If you are going to try, it is at your own risk but I will advise that you wear gloves as it can irritate your skin and a mask rated for bleach vapours. I paint in extremely well ventilated areas and wear a mask if ventilation isn't good enough but the advice is to wear a mask when using bleach at all times.
Goggles are a good idea too, I once touched my eye accidentally with bleach on my finger and I can tell you it wasn't fun. (If this happens you wash your eye out with a lot of water as soon as possible.)
Be aware that anything around you that you drip/splash bleach on may be permanently marked. Carpets, pets, sofas, wallpaper. You name it. That goes for anything you are wearing too.
Practice first before grabbing your favourite top to customise - it takes time to learn how to get the results you want and your first attempt may not be as succussful as your 5th. Many clothes have been ruined this way!
Lastly - I'd love to do it for you - order from me!
Custom Orders: Can I ask you to paint ANYTHING???
Within reason yes. I can't paint things like logos that don't belong to me or anything that infridges on other people's merchandise etc. I also won't paint anything that is too offensive (such as racist or abusive language/imagery).
Other than that though if you've always wanted a hoodie with your favourite person/pet painted on it, or an octopus wearing high heels on - why not ask me to make your dreams true? Why not make someone you love feel super special by asking me to paint something epecially for them?
I can work with you to design something truely unique and personal, I can also usually paint anywhere on the garment so think sleeves, hoods and pockets!
What do you charge for custom orders?
Custom bleach artwork prices can vary depending on a few factors, the main one being how long it will take to create. All prices include the price of a hoodie/sweatshirt, t-shirt prices will be roughly minus £10 of those shown. Postage is not included (see below for postage prices) For a quote on flat fabric for framing etc contact me to discuss further.
Pet portraits (from photo)
Face: from £200
Whole animal: from £220
Whole scene: from £230
Human portraits (from photo)
Face/whole person: from £250
Whole scene: from £270
Animal characters/film/tv animation inspired designs (not from photo/real life - bare in mind I can only go as far as copyright will allow for some images, contact me if you’re unsure)
Single character: from £160
Scene: from £180
Mandalas: from £120
Flower of Life: from £100
Leaf printing from £80
Add text from £10 extra
Hood decoration from £15 extra
Pocket decoration from £15 extra
Postage – all custom orders will be posted via Royal Mail Tracked and Signed service.
UK T-shirts - £5.50
Hoodies/Sweatshirts - £6.50
Europe T-Shirts -£6.50
Hoodies/Sweatshirts - £9.50
USA/Rest of World T-Shirts - £7.50
Hoodies/Sweatshirts - £12.50
These prices are just a guide, as each design may have elements that make it simpler and therefore make the item cheaper for you, just as it could go the other way. I will quote you for the actual price as soon as I have finalised the design with you. I can also look to simplify the design to fit your budget or I can increase the level of detail/epicness if your budget is bigger!
Bleach artwork is permanent and machine washable, and all designs are one offs so you won’t find anyone else with the exact same item as you. (Unless you specifically want a matching pair or set)
Once the design is agreed on and you have paid (a PayPal request is usually the best option here) I will need around 2-3 weeks to complete your order plus postage time. This may be longer at busy times, especially towards Christmas so I advise contacting me as early as possible for Xmas gifts. I am usually booked solid from at least November but it’s always worth an ask! If you have a deadline for your order such as a birthday/anniversary (even if it is closer than 2weeks) do let me know as well as the country I’d be posting to and I’ll let you know if I can meet that deadline along with postage times.
I look forward to hearing your ideas! Feel free to email me at email@example.com with questions and images etc to work from or for inspiration. You can also use the contact form on this website.
How do I make a custom order request?
For now you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me through my Facebook or Instagram pages. You can also contact me via our website's contact page. Let me know what kind of garment you are interested in and if you have a particular image in mind and we can discuss it further.
Prices vary depending on the garment and complexity of design. Contact me with your ideas for a quote.
Bleach painting a hoodie from start to finish...
Here’s some previous bleach art orders to give you an idea of what is possible.
Please note that as these now belong to the people that ordered them you can’t buy the exact ones you see here, I can make you something similar but not the same. I make sure everyone gets something unique and special so if you see something you like here get in touch and I’ll work with you to make it something just for you.